Samples of fruit-eating bats are being collected from nearby Perambra, the epicentre of the Nipah virus that has claimed 11 lives so far, and would be sent for testing at the National Institute of High Security Animal Diseases (NIHSAD) in Bhopal.
Experts from the National Institute of Virology, Pune and departments of Animal Husbandry and Forest have begun collecting the samples which would be sent to NIHSAD, to test for presence of the virus in the fruit-eating bats, Dr N N Sasi, the Director Animal Husbandry, told PTI.
Earlier, samples of three insectivorous bats caught from an unused well of the Moosa family, which lost three members to Nipah virus, were sent to the Bhopal laboratory along with samples of pigs, goats and cattle in the 5 km radius of the affected area and all of them tested negative, he said.
"We are trying to catch fruit-eating bats from the perambra region now," Sasi said.
According to an official, the droppings, urine and secretions of the bats will also be sent for testing.
A Union Health Ministry advisory has said that the virus, which commonly affects animals such as bats, pigs, dogs, and horses, can spread to humans, causing serious illness.
Spread of the virus to humans may occur after close contact with other Nipah infected people, infected bats, or infected pigs.